UConn women's basketball begins season
Published: Friday, November 2, 2012
Updated: Friday, November 2, 2012 00:11
The Indiana University of Pennsylvania women’s basketball team visits Storrs on Friday night as the UConn women’s basketball team begin their 2012-2013 campaign.
UConn enters the season No. 2 in the AP Poll behind Baylor, who was unanimously selected the top-ranked team.
Though the Huskies return eight players from last year’s squad, they will rely heavily on freshman this season, particularly Breanna Stewart, the nation’s top-rated recruit.
In addition to Stewart, Moriah Jefferson and Morgan Tuck should see plenty of playing time this year, as both were top-five prospects in the Class of 2012.
Despite being such a highly-touted recruit, Tuck believes there will be a bit of a learning curve when she takes the floor for her first college game
“You know, the pace of play will be faster,” Tuck said. “People are stronger and bigger, so I think that’s just one of the main things I think of between high school and college.”
Coach Geno Auriemma believes that learning curve will apply to the whole team, as they look to shake off some rust and get into game shape at the beginning of the season.
“The same thing you see every exhibition game,” Auriemma said. “You know, there’ll be some great stuff that we do that people will say, ‘Wow, I can’t believe they’ve only practiced for 10 or 12 days, whatever the heck it’s been.’ And then there will be times when, you know, you look like – I remember one exhibition game I think we turned the ball over like 42 times.”
Despite knowing that his team will not be in peak condition in the contest, Auriemma said he expects the team to look good, as they have been performing well in practice.
As of Thursday, Auriemma was unsure of what his entire starting lineup might look like, but had an idea of a few players that would likely be on the court for tip-off.
“The exhibition games are a great opportunity to maybe just kind of mix and match and throw some people out there together and see what happens,” Auriemma said. “Stefanie [Dolson], Kaleena [Mosqueda-Lewis] and I think Kelly [Faris] would be really good starters for three and then tomorrow I’ll just pick two names out of a hat and go with that.”
No matter who Auriemma decides to play, the Huskies will almost definitely have a big height advantage over IUP, as the Crimson Hawks’ tallest player is 5' 11'', while UConn sports four players 6’ or taller.
IUP is a Division II school based in Indiana, Penn. The Crimson Hawks compete in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference, where they posted a 17-5 record last year while going 23-7 overall.
A year ago, the Huskies won the Big East Tournament and managed to reach their fifth-straight Final Four in the NCAA Tournament before falling to Notre Dame for the second straight season. UConn finished the 2011-2012 campaign 33-5 and posted a 13-3 mark in the Big East.